Monday, April 1, 2013

Movie: Les Miserables: 10th Anniversary Concert

My rating on a 1-10 scale: 9

Genre: Classic, musical

Length: About 2 ½ hours

Based on: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Year it came out: 1995

My overall opinion: Well, first of all, note that this really wasn’t a movie. It was a concert, and had very little acting – a few face expressions, occasional bits of moving around. But ultimately, a concert. Music was the entire point. And yet somehow…I managed to sit and enjoy it for a full 2 ½ hours! Most remarkable. So, here’s my evaluation. :)

I preferred Hugh Jackman’s What Have I Done?. His voice was stronger and I preferred it. However, the bad guy (you know, the one who throws out Fantine) was pretty good in this. His face expressions were great, and his voice was good too! At The End of the Day was also well done.

I wasn’t much of a fan of the Fantine (Ruthie Henshall) in this version…well, specifically of her hair. She had long blond hair. However, her voice was stunning – a little deeper than Anne’s, which I liked. When she sang I Dreamed a Dream I was especially impressed. She did a great job, and I preferred her version over Anne Hathaway’s.
The song Lovely Ladies was also very expressive. Always good. I really liked Fantine and Valjean’s conversation when he saved her after the lovely ladies scene. It was pretty neat!
Okay, I admit – this Javert (Philip Quast) has almost as good a voice as my favorite Javert, Russell Crowe. And Valjean (Colm Wilkinson) did an excellent job on Who Am I?. Most impressive! Cosette as a child was okay, though in Castle on a Cloud, I preferred the new Cosette’s whispered line of “I love you” to this girl’s sung one.

Madame Thenardier (Jenny Galloway) was one of my favorite parts of this particular production. She was downright fearsome, with the perfect voice and face expressions. She would strike fear into anyone’s heart! And Messieur Thenardier (Alun Armstrong) was also amazing. He was very wiggly (delightful since many stood so still and with such boring faces) and quite perfect for the part. In fact, they were both perfect for their parts – absolutely awful! Also, sidenote, Armstrong was the one actor I was familiar with – he’s been in a ton of Dickens’ movies.

Young Gavroche (Adam Searles) has an amazing accent – how does one so young get one like that?! His solo when Javert is captured especially brought that accent out. The Barricade Boys’ Song was also pretty amazing – all I wrote down about it was “Wow.”

Javert’s Stars was very good, though I still slightly prefer Russell Crowe’s.

Enjolras! LOVE that voice. Oh my word. I basically spent every bit of his singing in a dead faint. Red & Black was SO good. I was super impressed. Unfortunately, I ended up with no strong feeling on Marius – or perhaps that’s good. He had a good voice, but I preferred Enjolras’. Then again, his was so stunning that it really isn’t fair to compare them.

As to Cosette (Judy Kuhn) and her voice…she was great! I loved her voice as well. Now, if we could put her into the 2012 movie with the looks of the 1998 girl…perfection! She did a stunning job on Heart Full of Love. And Eponine (Lea Salonga)! I was ready for anything after the cruel disappointment of her being entirely gone from the 1998 version. But here? Hooray! She was an adorable girl. I like the Asian look! I do prefer Samantha Barks, but it would take so much to beat her…this girl was great.

One Day More earned itself a heart on my paper! It was very good and a favorite from this show. Unfortunately, On My Own was not as memorable, though I loved how much Eponine was singing out with her whole heart. And then of course, there was A Little Fall of Rain. Let’s just say that this scene brought me to tears. For real. I can’t imagine what a total wreck I would’ve been if I’d actually gone to this concert. The fact that I cried over it? Means it was WELL-DONE.

Enjolras comforting Marius over Eponine’s death was so sweet. I loved that Marius actually showed how deeply he was affected by the death – I don’t think he does quite so much in other versions.
I liked Drink With Me and Bring Him Home was lovely! And then there was a lovely flute solo (or some such instrument) after the massacre at the barricades.
As to Javert’s Suicide…I wrote two things. “Impressive. WOW.” It was good. Really good. I mean, people killing themselves is always bad – but this song? And how well it was done? Very good.
There was some song about turning through the years…I rather enjoyed that as well! And then Empty Chairs and Empty Tables sung by Marius was also stunning. It was nice to have an opinion about him for once! The A Heart Full of Love reprisal by Cosette and Marius and Valjean was most delightful!
And then the whole ending…again, just wow. Do You Hear the People Sing was awesome again. A great finale. And then! Don’t stop watching just because they all begin applauding! No, I forbid you to stop there! Keep watching it’s worth it.

You see, after lots of applause, 17 Valjeans from around the world come up. 17 different Valjeans, 17 countries. And then! They sing Do You Hear the People Sing with each of them singing a line. And it all blends together seamlessly. I was so impressed!
So. Watch to the end. I also found it rather nice to have the English subtitles. There’s also a version with Spanish subtitles, which is what I watched for the first ½ until discovering the English version. Since I neither read nor speak Spanish…those were of no help. Yay for English!
In conclusion…a good concert with some good actors and some great voices. Watch it if you have an empty afternoon ahead of you!
Want to watch it and form your own opinions? It's easy, since it's on YouTube! Here you go:


Alyianna said...

Wasn't sure what I would think of this concert after hearing a few of the iTunes previews and not caring for them too much, but maybe I'll have to give it a try anyway. :)

Oh, by the way...I just started reading the book and I found out that Anne Hathaway's Fantine would actually be wrong. Fantine had lovely golden blond hair, according to the book. :)

And Colm Wilkinson...I'm new to this fandom, but I've been told he's THE Jean Valjean. :)

Have a great day!
- Alyianna

Melody said...

I have to say, that I was rather surprised to find out that you took to Les Mis! From what I know it didn't seem like something you would like It's funny how it seems to attach itself to all sorts of different people. I'm sort of curious to know if I would like it, but I balk at all the hype... haha. It's very unusual for something universally loved to be tolerated by myself, but I suppose there are always exceptions to rules. ;)

Hamlette said...

Colm Wilkinson is probably the most famous Valjean. I have two different cast recordings with him in the role, and he's awesome. Very distinctive.

This was my introduction to the musical, about 12 years ago, and it made me love it whole-heartedly. I'm so glad you enjoyed it!

Rosie said...

I'll have to watch this first opportunity I get! :D Thanks for your review, Charity. I'll be sure to let you know when I watch it.

Charity U said...

ALYIANNA, do give it a try. Interesting...I really think Fantine's character needs darker hair. Just saying. I need to read that though! Colm is a pretty good Valjean.

MELODY, you know, I'm also still wondering WHY exactly I like this...cause at first? Wasn't a fan when I saw the 2012 in theaters. But then I kept listening to the music because it was stuck in my head...I think now I mostly like the music. But I need to watch the movie again and see what I think! I know, I really didn't think I'd enjoy it much either. Do give it a try -- you don't have to love/like it. :) And review it, please!

HAMLETTE, is he? Didn't know Colm was most famous. I wonder if Hugh Jackman will take over now? I'm glad to see you liked it too.

ROSIE, do watch! It's a little long, but quite worth it. And yes, by all means, let me know what you think! :)

Little Lady said...